Counting Crows cancels Red Butte Garden show because the state won’t allow a COVID-19 vaccine mandate

The venue is on University of Utah property and state law won’t allow a vaccine requirement.

(BMG Records) The rock band Counting Crows, seen here in 2017, has announced it will cancel its Aug. 26, 2021, concert at Salt Lake City's Red Butte Garden — because it cannot enforce a requirement that audience members show proof that they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the performance.

The rock band Counting Crows has canceled its upcoming concert at Salt Lake City’s Red Butte Garden — because the Utah law won’t let the venue require audience members to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Red Butte ticket holders received emails Friday announcing the cancellation for the show, which was set for Thursday, Aug. 26.

“Unfortunately, due to state mandates in Utah,” the band’s statement reads, “[Red Butte] is unable to enact our COVID-19 entry protocols so we have made the difficult decision to cancel the show.”

The band wrote that “this is a decision we didn’t make lightly, but we must continue to prioritize the health and safety of our fans and crew.”

In other cities on its current tour, Counting Crows is requiring ticket holders to show proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, or provide proof of a negative test result within 72 hours of the show.

Such a rule is illegal at Red Butte, because the garden is part of the University of Utah campus, on property owned by the state of Utah.

Under House Bill 308, passed by the Utah Legislature and signed by Gov. Spencer Cox in March, “a governmental entity may not require, directly or indirectly, that an individual receive an emergency COVID-19 vaccine.”

In its email to ticket holders, Red Butte Garden said refunds will be made within 7 to 10 business days via the purchaser’s credit card.

“We are all disappointed that the Counting Crows concert had to be cancelled,” the email said.

Counting Crows’ announcement came the same day the country duo Florida Georgia Line canceled the remainder of its tour, because of concerns over the pandemic. The group was scheduled to perform Nov. 17 at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Some privately owned venues in Salt Lake City will require concertgoers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The State Room and The Commonwealth Room announced this week that it will require proof of vaccination or of a negative test result within 24 hours of the show. Live Nation announced this week that it will require proof of vaccination at its venues across the country — including Usana Amphitheater in West Valley City and The Depot in downtown Salt Lake City — starting Oct. 4.

Counting Crows is not the first Red Butte show this season to cancel because of the pandemic. In June, British rock star and The Who frontman Roger Daltrey canceled his U.S. tour — including a Sept. 8 show at Red Butte — because of “the current travel situation and the challenges for a UK act to be able to perform in the USA.”